statesman news service
NEW DELHI, 15 JUNE: Ahead of an impending reshuffle of the Union Council of Ministers, the minister for housing and urban poverty alleviation, Mr Ajay Maken, is said to have tendered his resignation tonight.
A senior Congress leader from Delhi, Mr Maken is likely to be drafted for Congress organisational work in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections this year-end, which will be followed by the Lok Sabha elections.
Mr Maken reportedly resigned as Union minister while “expressing his desire to work for the party organisation”.
His move appears to have come at the behest of the Congress leadership which might appoint him as an All India Congress Committee general secretary or as the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC).
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to effect a rejig of his ministry next week, which could be synchronised with a reshuffle of Congress office-bearers.
If the 49-year-old Mr Maken is appointed the DPCC president, he could emerge as a leading chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, where veteran leader Sheila Dikshit has been the CM for three consecutive terms now.
There has also been a buzz earlier that Mrs Dikshit might be inducted into the Union Cabinet.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is set to play a key role in the expected reshuffle of the Cabinet as well as the AICC, which would be the last major exercise of this kind ahead of the general elections scheduled for May 2014.
A fortnight ago, the PM had indicated to reporters that a reshuffle of his Cabinet might be in the offing. “There are some vacancies (in the Union ministry). The issue of filling them up is being considered,” Mr Singh had then said.
In the wake of the DMK’s pullout from the UPA government and the resignation of Mr P K Bansal and Mr Ashwani Kumar from the Cabinet, several ministers have been holding charge of additional ministries in addition to their principal portfolios.
Mr Maken may be appointed as an AICC general secretary or as the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee